Should eventing have a new name?

By Carole Mortimer on |

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Equestrian Triathlon, Equestrathon, Tri-equathlon; which, if you can say them even, would you choose as the new name for the sport of eventing? No me neither and yes these suggestions are real.

They are included at the end of an FEI report on ‘Eventing Future’ to be presented and discussed at the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne early next week (April 27/28).

The report is divided into three; the first based on an audit of the sport commissioned by the FEI to help identify factors that might affect Eventing as an Olympic sport with an aim of ‘widening the appeal of the sport both from a spectator and participant point of view’. The second examines the format of Eventing as an Olympic sport and the third The Future of Eventing.

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Yes there is a lot to deliberate and while it can be good every now and then to take a hard look at the present, I suspect many people involved in the sport might take some convincing that the proposed changes are for the better.

One of the major changes proposed is the format for the Olympic Games. The suggestion is that the team and individual medals are contested in different concurrent competitions – yes we’ve been here before, witness Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. The difference this time is that the teams (of three only and all to count) will run over a three-star course and the individuals a four-star course.

Bearing in mind a main criticism of Olympic Eventing is the relative cost, I am therefore not sure how spending thousands on a separate four-star course squares with this, especially for a maximum 25 starters.

I suspect many people involved in the sport might take some convincing that the proposed changes are for the better.

Another proposal is that the three team members ride one after another; hard luck on the teams that compete early and won’t have the advantage of any of their members being able to see how the course is riding, unless all the teams are locked away without a screen, which would make it fair.

And I suspect the proposal to add the times of individual team members together, ‘so that a faster round will counterbalance the slower round’ will also bring opposition. With a team of three and no drop score and no individual placing to be won, there is the potential for the last team member not starting (if one has already not completed), or it becomes something resembling a chase-me-Charlie style competition.

Then there is the question of which competition do the better riders contest as they will only be allowed to participate in one – the team or the individual? Which could pose a bit of a conundrum for riders and selectors. If the leading riders contest the team event, then will the winner of the four-star individual event really be a true Olympic champion?

And this is before we get to the new scoring suggestions, such as cumulative penalties for refusals and penalising the knocking of obstacles, for example (theirs) 5 penalties for knocking a flag (uh huh more re video replays). Is this not going to make the sport more complicated as who will be able to keep up with the scores?

Undoubtedly there is much to be discussed at the Sports Forum which also aims to cover, in much the same way, the future of jumping, reining, dressage and endurance as well as the Olympic agenda and the future of the World Equestrian Games. Phew. Any one topic could cover two days alone. I am sure I am not alone in awaiting the outcome and the responses of those who will be involved and I am sure this could run for some time.

A Sports Forum hub has been created if anyone wishes to read the reports and an open forum is available if anyone wishes to comment on any of the proposals.

Have your say.

http://www.fei.org/fei/about-fei/sportsforum/2015

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